They're millions of digits long, and it takes an army of mathematicians and machines to hunt them down -- what's not to love about monster primes? Adam Spencer, comedian and lifelong math geek, shares his passion for these odd numbers, and for the mysterious magic of math. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, humor, math, TED2013, 2013
The New Yorker receives around 1,000 cartoons each week; it only publishes about 17 of them. In this hilarious, fast-paced, and insightful talk, the magazine's longstanding cartoon editor and self-proclaimed "humor analyst" Bob Mankoff dissects the comedy within just some of the "idea drawings" featured in the magazine, explaining what works, what doesn't, and why. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, arts, design, humor, TEDSalon NY2013, 2013
As founder of the Ig Nobel awards, Marc Abrahams explores the world’s most improbable research. In this thought-provoking (and occasionally side-splitting) talk, he tells stories of truly weird science -- and makes the case that silliness is critical to boosting public interest in science. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, humor, science, technology, TEDMED 2014, 2014
Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani takes to the TEDxSummit stage in Doha, Qatar to take on serious issues in the Middle East -- like how many kisses to give when saying “Hi,” and what not to say on an American airplane. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, comedy, culture, entertainment, humor, performance, TEDxSummit, 2012
Despite her best efforts, comedian Julia Sweeney is forced to tell a little white lie when her 8-year-old begins learning about frog reproduction -- and starts to ask some very smart questio Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, children, comedy, humor, relationships, sex, TED2010, 2010
John Hodgman, comedian and resident expert, "explains" the design of three iconic modern objects. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, architecture, design, humor, TED2012, 2012
In this short talk from TED U, Joachim de Posada shares a landmark experiment on delayed gratification -- and how it can predict future success. With priceless video of kids trying their hardest not to eat the marshmallow. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2009, TED, Talks, children, culture, humor, psychology, 2009
With humor and charm, mathematician Eduardo Sáenz de Cabezón answers a question that’s wracked the brains of bored students the world over: What is math for? He shows the beauty of math as the backbone of science — and shows that theorems, not diamonds, are forever. In Spanish, with English subtitles. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, TEDx, humor, math, TEDxRiodelaPlata, 2014
In a presentation that can only be described as epic, comedian Charles Fleischer delivers a hysterical send-up of a time-honored TED theme: the map. Geometry, numbers, charts and stamp art also factor in (somehow), as he weaves together a unique theory of everything called "Moleeds." Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, astronomy, comedy, humor, map, science, TED2005, 2005
One afternoon, Kees Moeliker got a research opportunity few ornithologists would wish for: A flying duck slammed into his glass office building, died, and then … what happened next would change his life. [Note: Contains graphic images and descriptions of sexual behavior in animals.] Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, birds, humor, science, sex, TED2013, 2013
Sarah Jones changes personas with the simplest of wardrobe swaps. In a laugh-out-loud improvisation, she invites 11 "friends" from the future on stage—from a fast-talking Latina to an outspoken police officer—to ask them questions supplied by the TED2014 audience. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, future, humor, performance, theater, TED2014, 2014
Comic author Rob Reid unveils Copyright Math (TM), a remarkable new field of study based on actual numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2012, TED, Talks, business, entertainment, humor, music, 2012
Humorist John Hodgman rambles through a new story about aliens, physics, time, space and the way all of these somehow contribute to a sweet, perfect memory of falling in love. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, entertainment, humor, love, physics, science, TED2008, 2008
What does real scientific work look like? As neuroscientist Stuart Firestein jokes: It looks a lot less like the scientific method and a lot more like "farting around … in the dark." In this witty talk, Firestein gets to the heart of science as it is really practiced and suggests that we should value what we don’t know -- or “high-quality ignorance” -- just as much as what we know. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, education, humor, neuroscience, science, TED2013, 2013
J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Cloverfield, Lost and Alias -- back to its magical beginnings. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, entertainment, film, humor, storytelling, technology, 2007
Performance poet (and math student) Harry Baker spins a love poem about his favorite kind of numbers — the lonely, love-lorn prime. Stay on for two more lively, inspiring poems from this charming performer. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, humor, math, poetry, spoken word, TEDxExeter, 2014
Artist Uldus Bakhtiozina uses photographs to poke fun at societal norms in her native Russia. A glimpse into Russian youth culture and a short, fun reminder not to take ourselves too seriously. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, TED Fellows, art, humor, photography, TED2014, 2014
Web cartoonist Randall Munroe answers simple what-if questions ("what if you hit a baseball moving at the speed of light?") using math, physics, logic and deadpan humor. In this charming talk, a reader’s question about Google's data warehouse leads Munroe down a circuitous path to a hilariously over-detailed answer — in which, shhh, you might actually learn something. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, art, humor, math, physics, science, TED2014, 2014
Every act of communication is, in some way, an act of translation. Onstage at TEDxRainier, writer Chris Bliss thinks hard about the way that great comedy can translate deep truths for a mass audience. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxRainier, TED, Talks, communication, entertainment, humor, language, literature, 2011
Illustrious jugglers the Raspyni Brothers show off their uncanny balance, agility, coordination and willingness to sacrifice (others). Now, if you'll just stand completely still... Topics: TEDTalks, TED2002, TED, Talks, collaboration, entertainment, humor, physics, 2002
Stella Young is a comedian and journalist who happens to go about her day in a wheelchair — a fact that doesn’t, she’d like to make clear, automatically turn her into a noble inspiration to all humanity. In this very funny talk, Young breaks down society's habit of turning disabled people into “inspiration porn.” Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, activism, disability, humor, motivation, TEDxSydney, 2014
Like your uncle at a family party, the rumpled Swedish doctor Lennart Green says, "Pick a card, any card." But what he does with those cards is pure magic -- flabbergasting, lightning-fast, how-does-he-do-it? magic. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, entertainment, humor, illusion, magic, TED2005, 2005
Reed Kroloff gives us a new lens for judging new architecture: is it modern, or is it romantic? Look for glorious images from two leading practices -- and a blistering critique of the 9/11 planning process. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, architecture, art, business, design, humor, 2003
Great design is a never-ending journey of discovery -- for which it helps to pack a healthy sense of humor. Sociologist and surfer-turned-designer David Carson walks through a gorgeous (and often quite funny) slide deck of his work and found images. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, design, exploration, humor, photography, 2003
In this funny, casual talk from TEDx, writer Jenna McCarthy shares surprising research on how marriages (especially happy marriages) really work. One tip: Do not try to win an Oscar for best actre Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxAmericanRiviera, TED, Talks, culture, humor, love, relationships, sex, 2011
Combining dry wit with artistic depth, Billy Collins shares a project in which several of his poems were turned into delightful animated films in a collaboration with Sundance Channel. Five of them are included in this wonderfully entertaining and moving talk -- and don't miss the hilarious final poem! Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, entertainment, humor, poetry, TED2012, 2012
Which of the following is awesome: your lunch or the Great Pyramid of Giza? Comedian Jill Shargaa sounds a hilarious call for us to save the word "awesome" for things that truly inspire awe. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, comedy, humor, language, TED@NYC, 2014
Chip Kidd doesn’t judge books by their cover, he creates covers that embody the book -- and he does it with a wicked sense of humor. In one of the funniest talks from TED2012, he shows the art and deep thought of his cover designs. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, creativity, design, humor, literature, TED2012, 2012
Did you know that you're 30 times more likely to laugh if you're with somebody else than if you're alone? Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares this and other surprising facts about laughter in this fast-paced, action-packed and, yes, hilarious dash through the science of the topic. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, humor, neuroscience, science, TED2015, 2015
In this performance, Sarah Jones brings you to the front row of a classroom in the future, as a teacher plugs in different personas from the year 2016 to show their varied perspectives on sex work. As she changes props, Jones embodies an elderly homemaker, a “sex work studies” major, an escort, a nun-turned-prostitute and a guy at a strip club for his bachelor party. It’s an intriguing look at a taboo topic, that flips cultural norms around sex inside out. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, culture, future, humor, performance, sex, TED2015, 2015
Designer Philippe Starck -- with no pretty slides to show -- spends 18 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question "Why design?" Listen carefully for one perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, design, humanity, humor, philosophy, storytelling, 2007
Journalist John Hockenberry tells a personal story inspired by a pair of flashy wheels in a wheelchair-parts catalogue -- and how they showed him the value of designing a life of intent. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, design, humor, journalism, TED2012, 2012
In this short talk from TED U, Joachim de Posada shares a landmark experiment on delayed gratification — and how it can predict future success. With priceless video of kids trying their hardest not to eat the marshmallow. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, TED Conference, children, culture, humor, psychology, TED2009, 2009
You may not know it yet, but AJ Jacobs is probably your cousin (many, many times removed). Using genealogy websites, he’s been following the unexpected links that make us all, however distantly, related. His goal: to throw the world’s largest family reunion. See you there? Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, entertainment, genetics, history, humanity, humor, TEDActive 2014, 2014
John Maeda, President of the Rhode Island School of Design, delivers a funny and charming talk that spans a lifetime of work in art, design and technology, concluding with a picture of creative leadership in the future. Watch for demos of Maeda’s earliest work -- and even a computer made of people. favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews ) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, Internet, art, arts, computers, creativity, design, humor, leadership,...
Roman Mars is obsessed with flags — and after you watch this talk, you might be, too. These ubiquitous symbols of civic pride are often designed, well, pretty terribly. But they don't have to be. In this surprising and hilarious talk about vexillology — the study of flags — Mars reveals the five basic principles of flag design and shows why he believes they can be applied to just about anything. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, cities, design, government, humor, product design, TED2015, 2015
Listen closely -- Marvin Minsky's arch, eclectic, charmingly offhand talk on health, overpopulation and the human mind is packed with subtlety: wit, wisdom and just an ounce of wily, is-he-joking? advice. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, brain, health, humanity, humor, politics, science, technology, 2003
Sculptor and engineer Arthur Ganson talks about his work -- kinetic art that explores deep philosophical ideas and is gee-whiz fun to look at. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2002, TED, Talks, art, arts, design, engineering, entertainment, humor, philosophy,...
Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin … Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, comedy, community, entertainment, humanity, humor, performance, TED2014, 2014
You use paper towels to dry your hands every day, but chances are, you're doing it wrong. In this enlightening and funny short talk, Joe Smith reveals the trick to perfect paper towel technique. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, TEDxFeatured, entertainment, green, hack, humor, materials, simplicity, tedx,...
Human beatbox James "AudioPoet" Burchfield performs an intricate three-minute breakdown -- sexy, propulsive hip-hop rhythms and turntable textures -- all using only his voice. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, entertainment, humor, illusion, live music, music, performance, 2003
Two TED favorites, Jill Sobule and Julia Sweeney, team up for a delightful set that mixes witty songwriting with a little bit of social commentary. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, collaboration, entertainment, guitar, humor, short talk, singer,...
Chris Abani tells stories of people: People standing up to soldiers. People being compassionate. People being human and reclaiming their humanity. It's "ubuntu," he says: the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2008, TED, Talks, Africa, culture, entertainment, humanity, humor, literature, poetry,...
Artist and TED Fellow Aparna Rao re-imagines the familiar in surprising, often humorous ways. With her collaborator Soren Pors, Rao creates high-tech art installations -- a typewriter that sends emails, a camera that tracks you through the room only to make you invisible on screen -- that put a playful spin on ordinary objects and interactions. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, TED Fellows, art, creativity, humor, technology, 2011
Speaking at the most recent EG conference, author, philosopher, prankster and journalist A.J. Jacobs talks about the year he spent living biblically -- following the rules in the Bible as literally as possible. Topics: TEDTalks, EG 2007, TED, Talks, culture, entertainment, humanity, humor, religion, writing, 2007
Diseases of the body garner sympathy, says comedian Ruby Wax -- except those of the brain. Why is that? With dazzling energy and humor, Wax, diagnosed a decade ago with clinical depression, urges us to put an end to the stigma of mental illness. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, activism, brain, comedy, culture, entertainment, evolution, humor, mental...
Why are babies cute? Why is cake sweet? Philosopher Dan Dennett has answers you wouldn't expect, as he shares evolution's counterintuitive reasoning on cute, sweet and sexy things (plus a new theory from Matthew Hurley on why jokes are funny). Topics: TEDTalks, TED2009, TED, Talks, animals, biology, children, comedy, evolution, food, humanity,...
Jaime Lerner reinvented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. Along the way, he changed the way city planners worldwide see what’s possible in the metropolitan landscape. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, cities, culture, design, green, humor, sustainability,...
Bruce McCall paints a future that never happened -- full of flying cars, polo-playing tanks and the RMS Tyrannic, "The Biggest Thing in All the World." At Serious Play '08, he narrates a brisk and funny slideshow of his faux-nostalgic art. Topics: TEDTalks, Serious Play 2008, TED, Talks, art, arts, entertainment, humor, media, 2008